You have come to the conclusion that you need to make a significant lifestyle change, and that you are ready to start working out.
You pull up to the gym, open the doors and your mind starts to race. You see all this cardio equipment, people throwing weights around, machines that look like they are from another planet, gorilla looking men walking around. You immediately question if you are cut out for this.
The first thing I want you to do is take a deep breathe. Tell yourself that you have already taken the first step in coming to the gym, s step that many people will not do. That in and of itself is a HUGE accomplishment.
Here the three things you need to remember when going to the gym for the first time.
1) Every single person in that room started exactly where you were. Whether it was 10 years ago, last year, last week or yesterday. Every patron in that gym started in the same shoes as you. Through consistency and perseverance, working on your own or with a trainer, you will learn how to navigate the gym and train in an effective manner. But first, you have to start which is why you chose to take that first step!
2) Never compare yourself to others in the gym. It doesn't matter who you are, at some point in your life you have found yourself comparing your life to someone else's. You might compare cars, jobs etc. People do and will continue to compare their physique to others as well. We want to avoid this mindset and instead focus on our biggest competition which is ourselves. The people in the gym who are in great shape got that way through a TON of hard work and dedication. They have most likley been doing it for many years, training, eating properly etc. You cannot expect to look that way overnight.
Instead look at yourself in the mirror, maybe once a week and look at how you have improved this week compared to last week. It may be that your down 0.5lbs, your shirt may fit looser. It doesn't even have to be related to fitness directly. Maybe you felt like you slept better, had more energy compared to last week. Maybe you chose to eat a chocolate muffin and coffee once that week instead of 3 times and substituted for oatmeal instead. These are all accomplishments tailored to YOU. That should make you feel very proud. And all these small achievements continue to add up as you move towards your bigger goals.
3) Stay consistent no matter how hard it gets. This is the hardest step and why most individuals do not get the results they want. They get all excited about going to the gym, sign up, get the right foods, have a trainer, exercise 2x/week for a month. Then guess what happens? You start to hear phrases like "today I feel to tired and I will skip the workout." Or "it's pretty late in the evening, I could do some cardio but the gym is probably full. I'll skip the workout today."
After the initial phase of being charged up to get in the gym, most people will fall off. Whether it be the difficulty of getting to the gym, being to tired etc. People will begin to find excuses not to go.
The thing is, deciding to live this healthy lifestyle is just that, its a "lifestyle." More specifically, we must make a "lifestyle change." If we have learned anything in our life, it's that change does not happen overnight. Behavioral change will take time, but one thing is certain, if you find excuses not to do something, you most definantley will not do it.
Things will come up, it is inevitable. But it is up to you to stay disciplined and consistent. An exercise I get me clients to do in our initial consultation is ask why they are here. Why did they decide to come to the gym today to change. Most people will say "I want to lose weight, or I want to be healthy." That is a great response, but dig deeper.
Ask "why do you want to be healthier?".
Response: "I want to fit into my jeans."
Why do you want to fit into your jeans?
Response: "So that I can feel young again."
And why do you want to feel young again?
Response: "So my husband finds me attractive again."
This inevitably is the underlying goal of this client. Try this out for yourself. Ask yourself why you decided to come to the gym. Then ask why 5 more times until you get to the solid core of why you are truly there.
When it comes to the gym, it can be a very intimidating place. But just remember that everyone started in your shoes at some point. So by following these 3 rules, staying committed and not giving up when things get tough, you will be well on your way to living the life you want!